“We believe the bankruptcy process is the best way to provide a compassionate and equitable solution for survivors of abuse,” the archbishop said, “while ensuring that we continue the vital ministries to the faithful and to the communities that rely on our services and charity.”
The prelate noted that San Francisco is one of a growing number of dioceses and archdioceses filing for Chapter 11 as a way to address abuse lawsuits. At least 13 dioceses are currently engaged in bankruptcy proceedings, while 18 have emerged from it.
Cordileone said only the “legal entity” of the archdiocese itself would be covered by the bankruptcy filings. “Our parishes, schools, and other entities are not included in the filing,” he said. “Our mission will continue as it always has.”
The archbishop said offertory funds from individual parishes, as well as funds raised during annual appeals, would not be used to cover the costs of the settlements. “[T]hese funds, which you so generously donate, are collected for use by the stated ministries, which exclude legal settlements or related expenses,” he said.
Cordileone noted that the “great majority” of abuse claims occurred “many decades ago,” with most of them involving “priests who are deceased or no longer in ministry.”
The archbishop urged the faithful to “join together on a daily basis in praying the rosary, spending an hour each week in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, and fasting on Fridays for the survivors of abuse, for the mission of our archdiocese, and for the eradication of this shameful crime from our society as a whole.”